Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Vayera

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"And Abraham was old, advanced in age..." [24:1]

The words "advanced in age," or more literally, "coming in days," seem repetitive, because we already know that Abraham was old. But Rav Acha said: "you have a person who is old, but who isn't 'with days,' or 'with days' who isn't old, but here the age was commensurate with the days, and the days were commensurate with the age." [Medrash, Breishis Rabba 59]

The Vilna Gaon, Rav Eliyahu Kramer, says that we can understand this based upon a comment of the Zohar to Genesis 47:29, which is translated literally as "And the days of Israel came close to die." When a person passes away, all of his days come for an accounting before G-d. If a person was righteous, then all of his days come willingly, as it were, to demonstrate that they were all spent wisely. But if a person was wicked, then those days are embarrassed to come before HaShem!

So when Rav Acha said in the Medrash, "you have a person who is old but who isn't 'with days,'" this refers to an elderly but guilty person, whose days don't want to accompany him -- because all they can demonstrate is the amount of evil he managed to do in his lifetime. And then you have a wonderful, righteous person, whose days escort him, but who perfects his soul and passes away at a young age -- this is "a person 'with days' who isn't old." Our forefather Avraham was both; he was of advanced age, and his days were all coming with him before G-d.

This week, a young lady passed away in Baltimore after a sudden illness. And, as so frequently happens, most of our community did not know what we had in our midst, until she was gone. Those who knew her testify that she was the very definition of a person who was not old, but was "with days," days filled with Torah and good deeds. She was the type of girl who visited nursing homes to cheer the residents -- not occasionally, but regularly.

"It's not often," said one of those who eulogized her, "that you talk about a 17-year-old as being a 'marbitz Torah,' one who spreads Torah." Yet in her case, it was certainly true. She had, for years, taught in a small community program, reaching out to Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union.

Her principal said that she was a person who shunned the limelight. "She never once headed a committee, and almost always did all the work." And he said that you could ask any girl in Bais Yaakov of Baltimore, where she had studied for eleven years, if she was ever crossed by this young woman -- and get the same answer. To slight another was outside her very nature.

There is more to say, much more, by those who knew her. We on the periphery can only feel the privilege and joy of being part of a nation that has such people in it, and share the sorrow of losing Necha Yutta bas haRav Yaakov a"h, a person so young who was nonetheless "with days."


 

ARTICLES ON KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

The Heart of Gold - Perceiving Amalek
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

A Jew and Proud of It!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

A Community that Counts
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Moshe Does Not Let Betrayal Infringe on His Love For The People
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

What Money Can Not Buy
Rabbi Yehudah Steinberg - 5774

What's Bad is Good
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Shabbos Is Both A Mitzvah And A Present
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Going Up?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Follow the Leader
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5763

> Don't Second Guess G-d
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Faith Based Initiative
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Preparation for Happiness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5769

ArtScroll

Errant Deification
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Basar bíChalav: Milk Shall Not Meat
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Joy That Lasts
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Delving into the Megila
- 5774



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information